The Warm Down: Arsenal defensive woes continue despite win
Photo: Getty Images - Gareth Copley

The Warm Down: Arsenal defensive woes continue despite win

First-half goals from Alex Iwobi and Alexandre Lacazette helped Arsenal to their first away victory of 2019 but the Gunners were far from inspiring in their win against bottom of the table Huddersfield Town.

andy-preston
Andy Preston

Alex Iwobi gave Arsenal an early lead as his volley took a slight deflection to wrongfoot Ben Hamer before Alexandre Lacazette was on hand to poach from close range to convert Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ pinpoint cross.

Huddersfield relinquished some control in the second half and battled valiantly to try and get back into the match. They were eventually rewarded when Sead Kolasinac could only divert the ball into the back of his own net as Huddersfield scored just their 14th league goal of the season, however, there would be no time for a comeback as Arsenal held on to the 2-1 success.

Defensive woes continue

Arsenal have been extremely unlucky with long term injuries in Unai Emery’s first season in charge with Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin all facing long spells on the sidelines with severe injury.

With Sokratis Papastathopoulos added to the injury list in the backline as well as key omissions including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emery did not have a full squad at his disposal.

Despite this, Arsenal’s defensive record has been nothing short of abysmal with the Gunners being the only side in the whole of the Premier League this season not to have kept a clean sheet away from home.

A damning statistic for a side who have struggled defensively for a number of years and it looks as if this issue is one that will take time for Emery to fix, with defensive reinforcements likely to be a priority in the summer.

Emery will be particularly frustrated with the manner and timing of the goal with just minutes remaining as a sloppy error from Kolasinac who seemed to buckle under the pressure of the onrushing striker.

Lacazette form continues

Without his usual strike partner in Aubameyang, Lacazette was tasked with leading the line on his own and had another difficult task on his hands as the Gunners lacked creativity and control in the midfield, limiting the chances that came the Frenchman’s way.

But again, Lacazette fought relentlessly and pressed well up top and was eventually rewarded at the end of the first half as Maitland-Niles drilled a ball across the box perfectly to find Lacazette who converted from close range to score his tenth Premier League goal of the season.

Lacazette almost had the chance to bag his second of the game in the second half but Mohamed Elneny stormed into the box to take the ball off the strikers toes and was unsuccessful in his attempt to try and score a third for the Gunners.

Push for top four continues

A scrappy away win for the Gunners in the end, but nonetheless, a vital one which takes Arsenal up to fifth in the Premier League table following Chelsea’s 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City.

With twelve games remaining, the race for the top four is heating up with just one point separating Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. With Manchester United and Arsenal still left to face each other next month at the Emirates Stadium, the result is likely to have a monumental impact on the final league standings as Emery looks to get Arsenal back into the top four.

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